Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).
Oftentimes enduring a huge challenge provides a great reward. Consider a marathon runner. Finishing a 26.2 mile course in 4-5 hours is not easy. Anyone who has done this will tell you that there is an element of suffering that comes with attempting this feat. Sore legs, ankles, and feet. Burning lungs. The internal mental battle that constantly rages when you body says, “Stop! It’s not worth it!” and your mind says, “No way! Keep going!”
But the runner will tell you that there are great rewards as well. Strong legs, a healthy heart, low blood pressure, no obesity and all the problems that accompany that, and better mental health. Exercise is very good for the body. That is how God made us. He didn’t create us to be lazy.
But to enjoy the benefits of the reward, one has to endure the suffering to get it. James is saying something similar in our verse for today. He says that we’ll be blessed when we endure the suffering that comes our way because if we remain faithful to God, he promises to reward us. The reward is the “crown of life”. In the Bible, death is the reward for those who embrace their sin and don’t see their need for a savior. But for Christians, eternal life is promised for those who love God and see their need for a savior. What more could we want than that! Eternal life!
Read John 20:30-31
• Why did John write his book? What reason does he give?
• How does one “have life”?
• Is there a trial that you are going through right now? How can you focus on the reward of steadfastness?
Our Father, thank you that you promise life to all those who are yours. We want to remember the reward that you give to those who endure in the face of suffering. Help us please. Thank you for the vision of Jesus who embodied this verse to perfection. He suffered for the joy set before him of accomplishing his mission in the world to redeem lost sinners. May we remember him and reflect him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.